Formal Beach Attire Ideas

Escaping to a tropical getaway, where your packing list requires little more than your favorite sexy designer bikinis and sandals, is the ultimate dream. However, there are times when you need to make more room in the suitcase for clothing designed for formal events. Formal beach attire is necessary for a beach wedding, a stay at a luxury resort, and any other special occasion that requires pulling from the dressier parts of your wardrobe. 

Think cocktail party attire that’s suitable for a sandy environment and possibly several hours in the sun. Consider fabrics that are light, shoes with open toes, and enough accessories to pull the look together. There are multiple ways to get creative with your beach formal looks. Even though there may be a certain dress code attached to your destination, you can interpret it in many different ways. 

Best Beach Formal Dresses

Model wearing Tricia long dress in the Lizard print


A beach dress is one of the most versatile ready to wear fashion pieces to wear. You can dress it up or down, based on the occasion and depending on the accessories you wear. And, because the fabric in beach dresses are typically lightweight, it’s easy to fold up in a suitcase without taking up too much room. 

The next time you’re headed to an exotic resort or looking for something suitable to wear as seaside wedding attire, we’re sharing some of our favorite beach formal dresses to choose from and provide you fashion inspiration.

Artsy Scarf Dress

The gorgeous analogous colors of the Artsy Scarf Dress are a play on sunset hues to create a vibrant, striking look. In addition to the analogous colors, the gorgeous details of the sundress make it an excellent choice for beach formal wear. A maxi design with a billowing skirt, low V back, and stretch rope halter ties keep the look figure-flattering and airy at the same time. Paired with gold bangles and heels or gladiator sandals, this dress embodies the best of ready to wear fashion.

Lizard Bonnie Long Dress

A black-and-white color combination is always a go-to pick for formal attire, for the beach or otherwise. The Lizard Bonnie Long Dress modernizes this color trend with its distinctive, scale-inspired print. 

When compared with the Artsy Scarf Dress, this dress gives more coverage on the arms, with quarter-length, butterfly sleeves. However, the sexy front slits add movement to the dress that’s flirty and formal at the same time. Thin, silver long necklace chains and strappy stilettos are polished accents that can bring the entire look together.

Retro Dot Malti Midi Dress

When it comes to beach formal dresses, you can try on other dress lengths than a to-the-floor gown. A throwback take on the resort wear dress code is the Retro Dot Malti Midi Dress. The bright white background dotted with burgundy is chic and fashionable, perfect for an afternoon wedding or an elegant dinner al fresco.

The overall structure of the dress, combined with a slit and hardware details in the front, changes the look from casual wear to an optimal beach formal option. Although it can be dressed down with neutral sandals, pair with structural heels and ruby or diamond jewelry for a dressier style.

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Formal and Flirty Two-Piece Outfits

One of the best things about formal beach attire is that the dress code rules are a bit more lenient. Two-piece outfits work just as well as a beach formal dress or other cocktail-inspired attire. Wearing separates gives you the opportunity to experiment with different looks and create multiple outfits with a few key pieces. 

Black Ruffle Blouse and Black June Long Skirt

Black may be basic, but it’s never boring. It’s a classy color that can be worn in many ways. The delicate eyelet fabric of the feminine Black Ruffle Blouse looks lovely paired with the matching wrap style skirt. The asymmetrical hemline makes the skirt breezy enough to wear poolside but easily transforms into formal beach wear when pulled together in one outfit.

How you accessorize the look immediately elevates the style to fit the occasion as well. Create contrast with a pair of colorful heels or stick with the streamlined black allure by wearing peep-toe black stilettos. A formal updo and dangling earrings complete a formal interpretation of a beautifully timeless two-piece outfit.

Divino Candice Top and Divino Ana Skirt

The pairing of the deep red Divino Candice Top and Divino Ana Skirt adds a sultry flare to what formal beach attire can be. The gorgeous color and lightweight fabric are complemented by details like an asymmetrical hemline and a tied side. These features keep the look flirty and ready for an evening out. 

The color speaks for itself, which means jewelry can be kept to a minimum and the shoes can be kept neutral. It’s the ideal outfit for a tropical evening and represents how a classic style can be reinvented with a few, updated twists.

Flowy Pants: a Fresh Spin on Formal

Model wearing delicate micro floral pattern jumpsuit


Flowy linen pants combine comfort with style in the best possible way for a fresh take on formal beach attire. The key to wearing flowy pants is to ensure a tailored fit to keep the look streamlined and sophisticated, similar to dress pants. An all-white pairing of the top and bottom or the mix-and-matching of a striking print are two of the many ways to dress up flowy pants and make them event ready. 

Off-White Wrap Top and Front Wrap Pants

A white shirt  is always a smart choice, especially when paired with a fabric like linen. The combination of the Off-White Wrap Top and matching Front Wrap Pants offers an ethereal look with timeless appeal. It works well for both day and evening festivities and can be mixed and matched with other separate pieces, as desired. 

Two-toned neutral dressy sandals and rose gold jewelry add an upscale touch to the outfit. Or, a fashionable headpiece and gladiator sandals or flip flops can cap off the look for a trendy spin on a standard aesthetic. 

Fiorella Black Candice Top and Fiorella Black Ester Pant

The black-and-white, animal-inspired print of the Fiorella Black Candice Top and Fiorella Black Ester Pant embodies modern sophistication. The showstopping appeal of this outfit creates the illusion of one streamlined piece rather than wearing two separates. 

The smooth, soft texture of the 100% rayon is luxe comfort at its best. Plus, the slits on the sides of the pants add an airy feel that’s perfect for formal beach attire.

Swimsuits That Carry a Look from Day to Night

When planning formal beach outfits, several swimsuits that can be worn during the day and transform easily into an evening look when paired with the right clothing and accessories. The versatility of one-piece swimsuits that also work as a bodysuit gives you more options when packing for your next vacation or heading to your next formal event. 

Black Lace One Piece

The refined appeal of the Black Lace One Piece makes it a staple for 2021 swimwear trends. The flattering deep V neckline on the front and back combined with the neutral, two-toned shoulder tie straps can work beautifully when paired with flowy pants or maxi skirt and a linen jacket or sheer top. It’s stylish and versatile enough to complement a wide array of styles and formal beach outfits, complete with a sultry edge.

Petit Knot One Piece

The flattering, red-and-white print of the Petit Knot One Piece is also a must-have for any wardrobe. It’s a chic and elegant one-piece swimsuit ready to wear to the beach. And, it works as a bodysuit to layer under a dress for an evening of dinner and drinks. The slight keyhole-tie detailing in the front adds a flirty element to a classic cut. It is distinctive enough to be on trend, but the allure of it remains timeless.

Fiorella Linda One Piece

Another gorgeous swimsuit option that can be worn both on the beach during the day and for activities that go into the night is the Fiorella Linda One Piece. The vibrant red-and-sand, zebra print pattern fits the mood of any warm-weather escape. 

The chic one-piece swimsuit is accented by a lined, v-neck front and low cut back. However, it’s the pattern that takes center stage. It can be tastefully paired with flowy black pants or a maxi skirt to transform into more formal beach attire.

The Beauty of Formal Beach Wear for Any Occasion

Model wearing turquoise jumpsuit


From beach formal dresses and dressy jumpsuit options to one-piece swimwear that double as bodysuits, there is an endless array of options when selecting the best formal beach attire for your closet. Quality designs, bold colors, and unique accents help elevate everyday styles to a fancier level. 

There is a broader interpretation for this type of dress code, which allows you to experiment with various outfit ideas based on the destination and occasion, from a beach wedding to a stay at a luxury resort. Formal beach wear is stylish as it is comfortable and flattering without being fussy. With a multitude of colors, patterns, and cuts to choose from, these gorgeous choices can carry you through an entire beach wedding season and prepare you for your next celebratory occasion by the beach.